VWW's office remains closed as staff primarily work remotely. Please contact us in advance if you need to visit our Winooski office; our team is available via phone or email.
Vermont Works for Women Through the Decades
Since 1987, Vermont Works for Women (VWW) has provided support, guidance, resources, and encouragement to women and youth in Vermont. Our history is shaped by gutsy women committed to the notion that people’s choices about work should be their own—and not the product of gender stereotypes or biases.
1985 – 1999
In 1985, Vermont tradeswoman Ronnie Sandlerrecognized a wider need to train and support women to enter and succeed in construction and the skilled trades. She developed and instructed a trades training programfor women in St. Johnsbury and two years later, founded Vermont Works for Women, originally known as the Northern New England Tradeswomen (NNETW).
Throughout the late 1980s and 90s, NNETW expanded services across the state to connect female tradeswomen, and teach hard and soft skills.Additionally, to substantially shiftgender representation in the skilled trades and create inroads for women into the industry, Vermont needed to promote and offer accessible pathways to the trades to underrepresented groups at a much younger age. In the late 90s, NNETW began tooffer career exploration programming for youth. In 1999, we held the first Women Can Do career exploration conference for high school girls.
2000 – 2010
In 2000, our well-known Rosie’s Girls summer camp for middle school girls kicked off in Essex, before eventually expanding to communities across Vermont. In 2001, the STEP UP program was piloted at the women’s correctional facility in Waterbury, launching our commitment to providing support and training for justice-involved women. During this time, our programming with girls and gender-expansive youth continued as NNETW began to partner with career and technical education centers in 2006 to expand female enrollment in non-traditional programs and offer gender equity services.
In 2007, NNETW changed its name to Vermont Works for Women to reflect the expanded mission and vision to help women and girls recognize their potential and explore, pursue and excel in work that leads to economic independence.
2010 – 2020
The 2010’s was a time of growth at VWW, where we reflected on the needs of women in Vermont and made a plan for programming that would continue to support them. In 2015, we founded the Change The Story initiative with the Vermont Women’s Fund and The Vermont Commission on Women, which brought together policy, philanthropy, and programming to move the needle ongender equity in the state. We continue to expand our Employment & Career Services for women, along with gender equity services for employers and schools to help them create inclusive learning environments and workplaces.
In 2019, we returned to our roots of training women in the trades with the start of our seven-week Trailblazers program in construction and the trades. We also expanded our Rosie’s Girls summer camp to afterschool, allowing us to provide year-round programming for middle school girls and gender-expansive youth.
2020 – Now
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, VWW developed the volunteer-based Career Mentor Network and transitioned our Employment and Career Services curriculum online to meet increased demand for employment support. In a time of dramatic labor shortages, employers are realizing how crucial it is to consider recruitment and retention strategies for increasing gender equity. This has led to an increase in demand for our gender equity trainings and workshops. In 2022, VWW launched the Gender Equity Advancement Roundtable (GEAR), a membership program for businesses, nonprofits, and schools to learn best practices for creating an inclusive work culture and to network with other Vermont employers working to advance gender equity.
As we continue to see our programs grow and reach new levels of engagement, Vermont Works for Women is focused on helping women and girls reach their career goals and promoting economic justice for all. To stay up to date, sign-up for our newsletter or visit our blog.